Stop the U.S. Senate’s Stealth Attack on Health Care

While the details of the U.S. Senate bill are being hidden as if they were state secrets, one thing is clear: Working families will lose if the bill passes. Like the House AHCA, the Senate plan strips health care from 23 million Americans. The secret Senate plan strips access to care and opens the cost […]

Changes Coming in TRS-Care Health-Plan Options for Retired School Employees

Under HB 3976 as passed last month by the Texas Legislature, significant changes will occur next year in the health-care options available to TRS retirees. The governor has not yet acted on HB 3976, but on June 2 the Teacher Retirement System of Texas trustees went ahead and adopted new premium rates and benefits for […]

State 2018-19 Budget Bill Represents a Missed Opportunity; Accountability News

The 2018-19 state budget was approved Saturday by votes of 30 to 1 in the Texas Senate and 135 to 14 in the House. It amounts to a missed opportunity to improve funding for public schools as well as other vital public services. The bill, SB 1, keeps per-pupil funding at the current level but […]

State of Play at the State Capitol as More Deadlines Arrive

A series of critical deadlines will winnow the list of bills still in play at the state Capitol this weekend as the Legislature heads toward a mandatory adjournment on May 29. Look for Hotline updates over the weekend, as the House meets both Saturday and Sunday and the Senate convenes Sunday evening. One key deadline […]

House Proposal on Retiree Health Care is an Improvement, But More is Needed

Texas AFT testified Monday on a newly unveiled House proposal to address the funding shortfall for TRS-Care, the state program affording health coverage to retired school employees. HB 3976 by Rep. Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin) is a considerable improvement over the Senate plan in SB 788 by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston). Under HB 3976 the deductible […]

Bills on the Move (or Not) in the Texas Legislature

As the Legislature takes a break until Monday for the Easter/Passover holiday, there’s news to report on a number of bills of importance to education employees. With just 46 days left in the 2017 regular session, some major bills are on the move, while some others are not. Educator misconduct:  SB 7, the bill by Sen. […]

TRS-Care Bill Hazardous for Retirees

As early as Tuesday the Senate may vote on SB 788, the bill by Sen. Joan Huffman (R-Houston) that cuts benefits and raises costs for TRS-Care recipients who are not yet eligible for Medicare. While Medicare-eligible retirees may face higher costs, too, they at least would be assured under the bill of a decent level […]

Coming Up in the Texas Legislature the Week of April 10

Now that the House has passed its own version of the state budget in place of the Senate’s in SB 1, time-honored ritual requires the Senate to reject the House effort, triggering appointment of a conference committee to iron out the differences. Though news reports have emphasized differences between the two versions that are many […]

House Plan for State Budget Coming to a Vote April 6; Other Action at the Capitol

House Plan for State Budget Coming to a Vote April 6:  The House is scheduled to vote on its version of the 2018-19 budget bill, SB 1, on April 6. Also set to be voted on that day is the supplemental spending bill for fiscal 2017, HB 2. Pre-filing of amendments to the budget bills […]